Hidden Costs and Hassles of PC-based Digital Signage

by Jeff Hastings, CEO of BrightSign, LLC

You know the drill – you go to book one of those surprisingly low airfares, but once you’ve paid to reserve a seat, check a bag and order food you realize the true cost of your flight is much more than the teaser fare that caught your attention. The same could be said for PC-based digital signage. Customers are often attracted by low hardware acquisition costs, only to learn the hard way that their low-cost PC-based digital signage solution is anything but affordable.

Case in point, we recently built up a Windows-based signage solution to perform some benchmark testing of our own players compared to commonly used PC-based signage equipment. I won’t name names, but the player itself was priced competitively at $550. To get the system up and running, we had to spend $49 for RAM memory, $60 for an SSD drive and nearly another $100 for the Windows operating system. So we spent nearly 40% of the player’s purchase price to get the player up and running. And once we had a boot-ready player, it still lacked the necessary software to create and output content.

This example underscores why I feel so strongly about BrightSign’s transparent approach to pricing. Our players are priced competitively and come loaded with all the hardware and software needed to get up and running AND create signage content.

I opened this blog post with an airfare analogy, so I’ll close with an automotive one: when you shop for a car, you expect the purchase price to include everything you need to drive off the lot. You shouldn’t need to separately purchase wheels, a gas tank and the transmission before you’re on the road. The same should hold true for digital signage. Bear this in mind when calculating the true cost of your next digital signage installation.


About the Author

BrightSign CEO Jeff Hastings joined BrightSign in August 2009 while it was still a division of Roku Inc. In late 2010 with digital signage activities growing so rapidly, BrightSign became a separate firm. The holder of eight U.S. patents, he also has a history of tech industry leadership, including as president of mp3 pioneer Rio.